You’ve heard me numerous times talk about transitioning to a single income and how that has meant making some major as well as seemingly minor frugal choices. Major things like not having cable or super high speed internet, cutting out our eating to nearly nil and sticking to a tight budget. Minor things like coupons, waiting for sales to buy food items as well as household items, turning the thermostat waaaaay down, making my own cleaning supplies as well as favorite foods and waiting for BOGO’s/discounts when eating out (just to name a few).
I know this may sound like a hassle and surely it isn’t necessarily convenient but it allows us to still live comfortably (by our standards) on a single income (as my profits are still paying start-up costs) and just as important…it allows us to spend money on the things WE FIND VALUABLE. I say we, because our version of valuable is different from everyone else. The things we’re willing to sacrifice on may be things you would never consider, just as there are some things we would gladly splurge on that others might find spendthrift. That’s the beauty of life. We have choices and we can choose what we value.
So when our nieces announced that they were able to come visit us with only a month’s notice, I quieted the inner frugal and jumped at the opportunity. Because of the short notice (my niece had to arrange for time off from a new job), the two tickets cost us $900 – nothing to sneeze at. My mom balked at this amount and said that I should have said no. But the way I see it, in a couple of years, they will likely be fully invested in college/careers/life and then their own families. The time together, the experience and the memories are PRICELESS.
When they are here our budget goes out the window and just about anything goes. Some frugalistas might consider this reckless, but this is precisely why we pinch our proverbial pennies – so that we have the money saved to do the things that matter to us. By the time this week is over, we’ve spent close to $2000 but the memories will last forever.
One of the things that we splurged on was a trip to a very lovely Aveda spa. This place is heaven, it smells so welcoming the minute you walk in, they change you into plush robes once you arrive, they let you relax in a gorgeous seating area with a giant fireplace, lots of windows, ethereal music piping in, cucumber water and herbal tea flowing, access to the outdoor patio with beautiful mountain views and waterfalls to soothe the senses. And then there are the actual services. Divine. You are treated like royalty and are allowed to stay as long as you want, even enjoy a meal on site.
This luxury comes at a price but it’s something that is valuable to me so I’m willing to spend hours planning meals, clipping coupons and shopping sales in order to save the money for times like these. To this day, I don’t ever recount the girls saying to me, “remember that time you bought us…” rather I often hear, “do we remember when we did…” or “remember when we went to…” It’s the experiences they remember. And the fact that they were willing to sacrifice their time with their boyfriends and their friends in order to stay a couple extra days with us (which unfortunately didn’t pan out) means the world to us coming from teenagers. I know they value these times too.
So it comes down to what’s important to you. If you save money in certain areas of your life, it allows you to splurge in other areas. It’s about balance – give and take. So determine what conveniences or spending you’re willing to give up in order to have the money to spend on the joyous things in life.
For me, I’ll take experience and memories over material possessions any day. The memory of this week I will cherish forever.